Israeli elections are coming up this week. Now I know you might not be involved in the nitty gritty details of the Israeli political system, but President Obama's decision not to meet with Netanyahu due to his upcoming election bid has put the subject in international news. 

 Israel was famously founded to be a 'Jewish and democratic state'. Are Judaism and democracy compatible? The very question is one which so many Israeli politicians trip over to answer. "We're a Jewish state, but democratic too!" I won't attempt to answer that, but I would like to find a way to use it to bring some meaning into our lives. Can each person expressing his or her personal opinion and putting their own unique stamp on the world, the very essence of democracy itself, go hand in hand with a belief in one true G‑d and one true Torah?

 This week's Torah portion discusses the construction of the Tabernacle, the portable Temple the Jews had while wandering in the desert. The order to build this sanctuary is given by G‑d as the following: "And they should make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell in them".

 Why the plural (I will dwell in "them")? There was only one sanctuary! Chassidic thought explains that the point of the Tabernacle was not only for there to be a designated building in which G‑d's presence would rest, but rather for G‑d's presence to be felt "In them" - inside every single Jewish heart.

 What this means practically is that the Torah was not given to create a one-size-fits-all society where everyone would override his or her own specific personality, tendencies, challenges, dreams and desires and cast them aside. Rather the Torah is the Torah of truth. Something truly true is not hindered or fazed by anything. It not only withstands all pressure, but brings out the truth in everything it encounters. Every single individual has a truly unique way which he or she connects to G‑d. Every individual has a specific G‑d-given mission in life and a specific part in repairing the world -"Tikun Olam" - which he or she and he or she alone can accomplish. Yet it all stems from and revolves around the same core and beating heart: the Torah.

 So is Judaism democratic and pluralistic? Yes, in the most meaningful and beautiful way, but that's only half the story. Each one of us has a unique mission in this world which no one else can fulfill, yet it all revolves around one G‑d and one Torah. Just as there was one Sanctuary in the middle of the Jewish camp in the desert, around which all the individual Jews lived. The point was that G‑d's dwelling in the sanctuary would shine and bring forth the piece of G‑d which is the core of every single Jewish soul, in their own special way.

Rabbi Avrohom